Monday, April 22

BAFTA-nominated Ruth Madeley leads cast for new season of monologues from Bolton Octagon

This summer Bolton Octagon are producing a season of 10 new audio recordings of monologues written by local writers.

The monologues were penned by winners of the ‘One Night In Bolton’ writing competition inspired by the play which was due to be the opening performance at the theatre as it reopened after 2 years of construction. Due to the impact of COVID-19 the reopening of the theatre has been delayed, and instead the Octagon decided to inspire creativity in lockdown by running a creative writing competition.

The monologues will be released online over the summer and a selection broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester.

Bolton actor and BAFTA nominee Ruth Madeley, known for her role in the BBC’s critically acclaimed drama Years and Years, who will be performing The Queen of Bolton Baths by Pegeen Murphy. It depicts how a young girl’s imagination runs wild the day the Queen visits Bolton, and Madeley will also be performing Results Day by Ciaran Forrest, a poem exploring the events of the night after a teenager’s exam results are announced.

Lights Out by Bill Hodson will be voiced by Manchester actor Daon Broni, a football-themed monologue reminiscing about the Bolton Wanderers’ final game at Burnden Park. Daon will also be performing Nowt Worth More than Sand by Ibrahim Ismail, a moving story of how a young boy learns about the true value of his family’s belongings.

Local actor Shaban Dar will voice Olympic Torch: Once in a Lifetime by the under 18 category winner James Storey, a funny and charming account of a family gathering in Bolton to watch the Olympic Torch in 2012. Shaban will also be performing Roots by Linda Downs, a monologue about a family from Pakistan making their new home in Bolton.

Bolton born musical theatre legend Claire Moore who has starred in West End shows, including Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera, Follies and Les Misérables, makes her Octagon debut performing Grandma’s Chippy Night by Julie Worthington, a charming tale of childhood memories of the importance of food, family and coming together. Claire will also be voicing The Constance Carroll Smile by Lisa Allen, a poem that looks back on the highs and lows of a night on the town in the 1980s. 

Completing the cast is local actor Karla Marie Sweet who will perform Pilgrimage to Bolton by Zoe Iqbal, a tale of a group of teenage friends who venture into Bolton in search of a good night out. Karla will also be bringing to life The Same by Loraine Knockton, the story of a woman who takes a leap of faith and explores her true feelings. 

“The writing competition shone a light on some amazing local writing talent, and I cannot wait to work with the cast to bring the stories to life, and then share them with audiences over the coming weeks,” says Artistic Director Lotte Wakeham.

“The pieces are incredibly moving, charming and funny, and I am sure audiences will really enjoy listening to these fantastic and varied tales about our brilliant town. Lockdown has been an extremely challenging time for many of us and I hope this competition and the sharing of these stories will inspire creativity and bring joy to the people of Bolton and beyond.”

The theatre, which is a registered charity, is currently working remotely with a range of online activities and opportunities for audiences to get involved with. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic delaying the opening of the theatre, the Octagon faces one of its biggest challenges in its history and has recently launched a fundraising appeal to support the theatre through this difficult time. To donate visit

The winning entries will be released daily online on the Octagon’s website and social media channels from Mon 27th July. To find out more visit